Martin Howard's reviews of films seen on the big screen in 2005, with links to the BBC's alternate views.

(18th December 2005)

As a bit of a travel junkie, I was looking forward to this film. I might be daft, but contrary to many, I enjoyed the story- it wandered around so much in the middle that I honestly had no idea (quite literally) where it was going. This was all part of the fun. At the time of writing plenty of people have been to see Flightplan (see box office figures)- I think you should too. BBC Review

The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe
(12th December 2005)

Based on CS Lewis's book, this film is stunning. It was a Monday night and the cinema was nearly full, which says a lot. I definitely need to go back and read the book, as religious symbolism seems to ooze out from behind every rock. Incredible photography and special effects. A clutch of well known faces and voices combine well to produce what should be the Christmas blockbuster of 2005. Don't miss! BBC Review

Keeping Mum
(4th December 2005)

A competent British comedy with an all star cast including the superb Dame Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson. For me a couple of the scenes fell a bit flat, but overall this film has enough going for it to make a visit to the cinema worthwhile. Not a fantastic endorsement, I know, but as someone who occasionally sees evidence of the politics of village life, the truth can be stranger than fiction. BBC Review

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
(27th November 2005)

Another epic with the boy wizard. As expected the young stars are growing up, but everything is clearly under control as yet another director for the Potter series of films (Mike Newell) creates a solid well crafted picture. As with previous films in the series, time flies when you are having fun. The dragons are excellent. BBC Review

Batman Begins
(13th August 2005)

Wow! I really enjoyed this film.The story had me gripped the whole way through. The film is very dark (I have now idea how it is classified as a 12A), but there is plenty of pace and a smattering of humour. Some of the cinematography is brilliant, particularly in the early stages and the special effects are so good they really do blend into reality. Christian Bale deserves to keep the role of Bruce Wayne in the inevitable sequel and I do hope that Michael Cane is still around as Alfred. A must see (for me anyway). BBC Review

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

(31st July 2005)

It is said that Roald Dahl didn't like the original 1971 version (Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory), but I would like to think he would have enjoyed this one. Johnny Depp is good (but you never know who he really is) while Freddie Highmore is almost too bright eyed to be true- but hey, it is a fantasy! The musical score let the side down (not a memorable tune to be heard), but maybe that's because I can still hum some of the originals. The squirrel scene is absolutely outstanding- who needs golden eggs anyway? Take the children. BBC Review

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

(1st May 2005)

I don't remember the original radio series, but I do remember the television adaptation (all dutifully logged in the 'cult' section of the BBC web site). If you don't remember either of the originals (not forgetting the Douglas Adams book), the film will probably be very confusing. Martin Freeman is enjoyable as Arthur Dent, Bill Nighy is a rather splendid Slartibartfast and some of the effects are good. It is difficult to rave about such an oddball film- if it does well, it will probably be down to the cult status of the original. There are also plenty of chuckles to be had. BBC Review

The Interpreter

(24th April 2005)

Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn star in this (supposed) thriller, chunks of which were filmed in the UN building in New York. Individually there are a few reasonable sub-plots, plenty of well filmed scenes & sequences and a number of reasonable effects. On reflection I would recommend the film, just don't be wholly surprised if at the end you walk out of the cinema feeling as though there were something missing. BBC Review
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Updated Monday 2nd January 2006